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Competition Between Twins

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: I have twin three-and-a-half-year-old boys, both very active, who are enrolled in preschool. The last time I picked up my children from school, the teacher remarked how competitive they are and said she'd like to call me to talk about it. How can I help decrease the amount of competition between my sons?

A: Competition between siblings, especially twins, can be a reaction to being frequently compared to each other. It is also caused by a need to draw attention to oneself as an individual.

Parents can reduce competition between twins by removing unnecessary competition. For example, instead of seeing which twin can count the highest, have the twins count together with you. And when the twins play outside, stress physical activities that are fun for everyone, rather than those that establish one or the other as the fastest runner or highest jumper.

Competition between twins or any siblings lessens when each child feels valued as a unique individual. Each child needs to receive an abundance of affection and to have some special time alone with you doing a favorite activity. Plus, it is more effective to praise young twins for behaving cooperatively rather than chastising them for competing with each other.

Besides talking to the teacher about your children, you should visit their classroom to see firsthand how they are behaving. If their teacher and/or classmates are constantly comparing your sons, it will cause them to become more competitive. After observing the level of competition between the twins in the classroom, you may wish to discuss with the teacher the possibility of placing them in different classrooms. While most twins in preschool benefit from the social support they give each other, the same classroom does not work for all twins.

You can find out more about raising twins and their special needs online. Visit such websites as National Organization of Mothers of Twin Clubs, Inc. and Twins Magazine.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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